Press Room

BC begins to offer courses for students aiming to get a white-collar warehouse job

Kern County’s third largest industry, behind agriculture and oil, is distribution, and Bakersfield College has just begun offering courses to prepare students for management positions in the field. “Warehouse Management” is a business administration course now open for registration. It marks the first of five courses that the college plans to offer to students interested in working their way up the management ladder at the many distribution centers in Kern County. “We’re in the right spot, and we want to get them prepared,” said Gary Blackburn, a faculty member who will be teaching the course.

Kern County is the midway point between Southern California and Northern California. That makes it an attractive location for many distribution centers that have made their home here, including Ross Stores, Target, IKEA, Dollar General, Walmart, Caterpillar and Amazon. Altogether those centers add up to 35 million square feet of distribution, Blackburn says. He points to a Kern Economic Development Corp. report that puts Kern County within 300 miles of 14 percent of the U.S. population.

These distribution warehouses offer a lot of jobs. Blackburn says these distribution warehouses don’t tend to have a problem finding blue-collar workers here, but finding locals who are ready to take on the white-collar opportunities in management can be tougher. But he says there are opportunities for higher-paying jobs with room for advancement, and Bakersfield College’s new courses are aimed at putting them on that track. “That’s our niche,” Blackburn says. “That’s what this training is going to help them do.”

Blackburn says even just a few courses at Bakersfield College will put them in a better position to move up the management ladder, but he says students who want to continue their degree will be able to take courses at CSUB, which has a Supply Chain Logistics program he helped to get off the ground in 2011.

This semester he won’t be able to take students on field trips to show them how warehouses operate to give them hands-on experience the way he usually does. But he’s hoping that as the COVID-19 outbreak eases, he’ll be able to take students on site and have them meet guest speakers in the field for courses like “Operations Management and Lean Principles,” “Supply Chain Management,” “Purchasing and Contracting,” and “Transportation Management.” For that last course, he’s hoping to take students to the Port of Los Angeles.

This semester “Warehouse Management” will focus on “maximizing value in the modern warehouse, relationships in the supply chain, inbound and outbound product and processes, management systems, and safety.”

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/bc-begins-to-offer-courses-for-students-aiming-to-get-a-white-collar-warehouse-job/article_2cceb956-ed89-11ea-90cc-07eb57d663b4.html

CSUB professor helps create eco friendly way to fill potholes

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Doctor ZhongZhe Liu is an Assistant Engineering Professor at Cal State Bakersfield, but that’s not all he does. He’s on a research team that is developing a new, cost-efficient road patch material. “I think we’ve found another way to reuse this material because this byproduct, wastewater grit, has never been studied before,” said Liu.

According to the American Chemical Society, the asphalt currently used to fill potholes can pollute the environment. Liu said the material his team created, called GAP, or Grit Assisted Patch, is an inexpensive, eco-friendly alternative.

Grit is the remnants leftover after wastewater is processed at a treatment plant. It’s mostly sand and gravel. Usually grit is buried in a landfill, but now Liu’s team is re-purposing it. “So, we add some water,” said Liu.

These are the steps taken to turn grit into road patch material. They use chemicals that usually treat hazardous or radioactive waste to kill unhealthy pathogens. “And then, the first step, we need to add some calcium oxide,” said Liu. Add in magnesium oxide and a weak acid too, and the pathogens are killed using inexpensive components that are non-toxic to people. “Now we fill the pothole right away, and after a couple minutes, this material will be solidified and the pothole will be repaired,” said Liu.

The rest of Liu’s team resides in Wisconsin where he was originally a research assistant. They will field-test the material on real roads this winter. and if it can withstand the harsh weather on actual pavement, Liu says they hope to introduce this product to the real world. “We’re very excited. I mean we made it,” said Liu. Liu said right now his team has filed a patent and they’re working on strengthening the material’s durability even more. He said they are excited to see where the next steps lead them.

https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/csub-professor-helps-create-eco-friendly-way-to-fill-potholes#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20American%20Chemical,processed%20at%20a%20treatment%20plant.

UPS & Amazon offer huge boost to Visalia Industrial Park

-September 9,2020-

After 2 years of construction activity United Parcel Service (UPS) plans to open their new 450,000sf distribution hub on Plaza at Riggin in the Visalia Industrial Park early next month. UPS spokesperson Kim Krebs says when it opens the “new Visalia package sortation and distribution center will create more than 625 new full-and part-time well-paying jobs.”

Contractors are packing up now after erecting the 88 acre complex that includes several outbuildings, a truck maintenance facility, fuel center, customer service center and entrance station besides the main tilt-up concrete building with its advanced package sorting conveyor system. UPS bought the land in summer of 2017 from CapRock Partners adding 30 acres last fall from the same party. But wait,as they say ..there’s more.

Right next door to UPS there is some surprise news from another mega-shipper. Amazon is the unnamed mystery logistics center that is now under construction with a 1.3 million square ft distribution center of their own – one of their “fulfillment centers” that typically employ 1000 or more. Amazon has not announced the Visalia project but the contractor on the job Gray Construction based in Kentucky is an Amazon contractor and at the job site today.The company secured the city building permit.

Blake Steel with Gray Construction says this will be the third Amazon center he has worked on and says they will be complete in 11 months. Some 300 construction workers will be needed during the busiest months of the Visalia project.

A typical scenario played out in Fresno with the distribution center built and open in less than a year. In Fresno’s case “During peak times, the fulfillment center ships over 1 million packages per day and has created over 3,500 jobs within the immediate area” says a report. If Fresno has one, Bakersfield too now has seen completion of a 4-story Amazon complex near their airport, expected to open September 6,according to the Bakersfield Californian.

The new general manager told the press there “This is one of the most advanced buildings that Amazon has,” he said, adding that the building — four stories, each about the size of 11 football fields — is the company’s 26th “fulfillment center” in California.” Make that the 27th – counting Visalia. Like UPS, Amazon is not just hiring robots to do the work. Amazon has more than 110 active fulfillment centers in the US and more than 185 centers globally. Now we are on the map

Property owner Newport-based CapRock Partners has been working on this 1.3 million “spec building” for over a year and just received City of Visalia approval to begin construction with grading of the empty site starting last week. Electric power to the site for construction is being added this week to the new address- 3315 N Kelsey.The building has a million sf at ground level and a 300,000sf mezzanine.

CapRocks’ President Patrick Daniels said he could not comment who the tenant was for the big building, what will be by far Visalia’s largest – almost 10 Costcos for comparison. Daniels has been working on their 640 acre industrial park – they call it the Visalia Logistics Center – since 2006 when he first visited Visalia drawn by developer Richard Allen and his successful effort to bring in VF Corp to Visalia in 2005. VF, a major local employer, is another big UPS customer who came to town because UPS ships by ground from Visalia to most of California in less time than almost all other competitive locations. Scores of other firms have suggested that is why, they too, chose Visalia.

With the coming of these two new shippers, the City of Visalia already is planning to widen Riggin from Plaza to Shirk in coming months as well as punching Kelsey north that will allow Amazon street access.The Riggin and Kelsey intersection will now be signaled. Riggin is already busy with truck traffic with the new connection to Highway 99 ( Betty Drive Interchange) that fully opened in the past year.

As for jobs at Amazon the Bakersfield location is a close model, offering warehousing jobs paying $15 to start, the company says, and full-time employees immediately qualify for comprehensive health benefits as well as a 401(k) program with a 50 percent company match. Amazon also offers to pay 95 percent of tuition for college courses in in-demand fields, regardless of whether that education relates to their current job with Amazon.

Amazon.com also said last week it received federal approval to establish a fleet of drones and will begin limited tests of package deliveries to customers in the U.S., although a number of key steps remain before widespread use of the technology will be allowed. Besides drones, both UPS and Amazon promises a green fleet of delivery vehicles based in the Visalia Industrial Park.

What will be the impact on government of a new Amazon logistic center here? A summary of Amazon’s 2019 U.S. taxes they reported includes:

•Over $1 billion in federal income tax expense.
•More than $2.4 billion in other federal taxes, including payroll taxes and customs duties.
•More than $1.6 billion in state and local taxes, including payroll taxes, property taxes, state income taxes, and gross receipts taxes.
•Last year alone, Amazon collected and remitted nearly $9 billion in sales and use taxes to states and localities throughout the U.S. The recent enactment of “marketplace laws” by 40 states allows Amazon to legally collect state and local sales and use taxes on behalf of third-party sellers who sell their goods on their platform.

If Amazon is the golden boy company, UPS and their stock has been on a tear recently as well, propelled by a surge in e-commerce activity this year as a result of COVID. UPS stock has doubled since May.

UPS is developing more so-called super-hubs across the US handling more shipments using highly automated technology.The trend is continuing as demand for same-day service accelerates fueled by more internet shopping and door-to-door delivery. The company is gearing up for the holiday shipping season 2020 in Visalia a year earlier than Amazon will do here – for the holiday season of 2021. With all those internet orders a recent analysis expects that e-commerce will require more than 3x the logistics space of brick-and-mortar sales, according to 2019 data.

Global e-commerce sales are projected to more than double to $6.5 trillion by 2023, according to Statista. The Boston Consulting Group estimates U.S. e-commerce sales will double too, to $1 trillion, growing at six times the rate of all retail transactions.

Those projections came before the coronavirus pandemic, which has prompted an explosion in online shopping by people avoiding brick-and-mortar stores because of stay-home orders or fear of being infected by the virus. Best Buy recently reported that e-commerce sales grew 242% from the year-ago quarter and now represent 53% of total sales. VF Corp recently posted e-commerce earnings enjoying a surge as well.

The side-by-side locations of UPS and Amazon in Visalia may encourage a mutual feeding frenzy in our future. Amazon is UPS’ largest customer, accounting for almost 12% of UPS’ $74 billion in revenue last year. Besides taxes, payroll and the job impacts of the double powerhouses of UPS and Amazon, the developments will clearly draw more companies to Visalia say officials. Already 5 more spec buildings are nearing completion within a country block of the two centers.

CapRock itself has 300 more acres just to the north of the Amazon/UPS sites and Fresno developer John Brelsford ,who already has a dozen tenant-filled big buildings in the industrial park, has 150 acres at the NWC of Plaza and Riggin. CapRock too has plans to build another 500,000sf spec building just north of Amazon.

The coming of all this new industry along the city’s northern edge is going to further juice homebuilding in this area and spur other development along Riggin that now ties to Hwy 99 – a continuous 4-lane artery.To the west of Plaza, Brelsford plans several million square feet of new industrial space and sources say Tevelde has long range plans to annex land not yet in the city north of Riggin,plenty more land almost to Hwy 99.

http://sierra2thesea.net/central-valley/double-double-combo-in-visalia

High-Speed Rail Nears 1,100 Daily Workers at Central Valley Job Sites, California High-Speed Rail Authority Reports

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is now averaging a daily record of nearly 1,100 workers dispatched to construction sites throughout the Central Valley. This milestone comes as the country celebrates Labor Day and the contributions of the American worker.

“The Authority is proud to keep hardworking men and women on the job and in the field during this worldwide pandemic,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “These individuals are more than ‘essential.’ Each day, these skilled workers are out building for California and the nation’s future, and their contribution is invaluable.”
In partnership with local trade unions, the State Building and Construction Trades Council and the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board, the Authority is proud to work alongside such skilled laborers. Electricians, cement masons, steel workers and others are helping bring the nation’s first high-speed rail system to life while contributing to the local economy across five counties.

“The High-Speed Rail Authority continuously lives up to its promise by providing opportunities to disadvantaged communities,” said State Building and Construction Trades Council of California President Robbie Hunter. “As more construction sites open, the opportunities grow for our growing workforce and apprentices eager to make high-speed rail a reality.”

Since the beginning of the high-speed rail project, the Authority has worked to ensure jobs created on the project benefit disadvantaged areas through the execution of a Community Benefits Agreement. The agreement includes a Targeted Worker Program that requires 30 percent of all project work hours be performed by individuals who come from disadvantaged communities where household income ranges from $32,000 to $40,000 annually.

Each of the project’s design-builders is implementing the Targeted Worker Program. Out of the more than 4,300 workers dispatched to the project, 226 reported living in Madera County, 1,791 living in Fresno County, 128 living in Kings County, 406 living in Tulare County, and 580 in Kern County. “It’s neat to be part of one of the biggest projects in California,” said Nicholas Godbey, a laborer working on an overpass at Davis Avenue in Fresno County. “I work with great people every day and I take a lot of pride in being a laborer. There’s not many who can say they are part of building high-speed rail.”

The Authority currently has 119 miles under construction within three construction packages. Design-builder contractors Tutor-Perini/Zachry/Parsons, Dragados-Flatiron/Joint Venture, and California Rail Builders have 32 active construction sites with more expected to open in the coming months. This work totals more than $4.8 billion in construction commitments.

https://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/25191-high-speed-rail-nears-1-100-daily-workers-at-central-valley-job-sites-california-high-speed-rail-authority-reports

Despite economic hardships, almond industry continues to thrive

A recent report published by the Almond Board of California shows that despite a currently challenging trade environment, global shipments of almonds continue to increase as the industry navigates through tough times.

California almond growers are consistently producing crops at record or near-record levels year after year, meaning the industry must constantly work to expand existing export markets and continue to grow demand in those regions — while also keeping an eye on new opportunities at the global level. In the past year, the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with China’s continued tariffs, have continued to pose a problem for growers looking to move their nuts from California ports to export markets.

During the 2019-2020 crop year, California produced 2.55 billion pounds of almonds. Nearly 1.6 billion pounds were exported, while domestic shipments accounted for 774 million pounds. This represents nearly parallel growth between the two compared to 2018-2019, when domestic shipments grew 4.5 percent and exports grew five percent. The ABC credits this continued growth to the industry’s investment in nutrition research, as well as development of the global market.

The ABC expanded its nutrition research into the area of beauty in the past year, and is also building demand through consumer marketing programs in 11 countries, from India and Japan to the U.S. and Mexico.

“One of the things that I first noticed when I joined the Almond Board four years ago was the passion and pride staff have in helping grow this industry,” Vice President of Global Market Development Emily Fleischmann states in the report, “and that fire continues. It’s what has helped our teams launch innovative new campaigns like ‘Do You Almond’ in the UK this past year and what helps almonds remain the number one nut in new product introductions for 10 years running.”

Forthcoming partnerships include a campaign with Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings, a brand-new campaign in France and the ABC’s first digital program in India.

India received 256 million pounds of almonds from the U.S. in 2019-2020, followed by Spain (193 million), Germany (134 million) and China (99 million). Global trade tensions with China have changed the landscape of priority markets, according to the report.

“Five years ago, China was our second-largest export destination. It stayed as the third-largest market for several years, surpassed only by the strong growth of the Indian market,” said Julie Adams, vice president of Global Technical and Regulatory Affairs for the ABC.

Adams went on to explain that retaliatory tariffs implemented by China two years ago derailed progress that had been made, with the country previously poised to expand amid an increasing middle class and economic growth.

“Starting in April 2018, we saw the impact of the trade war, which took almonds from a 10 percent tariff to the current 55 percent tariff,” Adams said. “Over the last two years, shipments to China/Hong Kong dropped 25percent in crop year 2018-19 and another 23 percent in crop year 2019-20, with Australia benefiting.”

Although China has dropped to fourth in the line of top U.S. export destinations, the country is still key to building demand for expanded crop production. Many trade issues take a long time to resolve, Adams stated, but it is still essential to engage in positive interactions with difficult markets so that a solution can be found quickly

The report states that global appeal among customers and consumers worldwide is clearly reflected in the almond industry’s regional shipments, and that being well diversified helps counteract trade disruptions that can unexpectedly come up in one market or another. For example, India and China have historically been the primary destination for in-shell markets, but now India has absorbed much of those shipments.

In India, almonds are the number one ag import at $732 million, accounting for 40 percent of all U.S. ag exports to India. In the United Arab Emirates, almonds are the number one ag import and account for around 23 percent of total U.S. ag exports. “There are so many growth opportunities around the globe,” Adams said. “For years, the Middle East and Africa were a small share of exports, but now they represent almost 20 percent.” While acknowledging the many challenges facing California almonds, Adams also believes “the opportunities are limitless.”

https://www.turlockjournal.com/news/local/despite-economic-hardships-almond-industry-continues-thrive/#:~:text=A%20recent%20report%20published%20by,industry%20navigates%20through%20tough%20times.&text=During%20the%202019%2D2020%20crop,2.55%20billion%20pounds%20of%20almonds.

Former Sears warehouse in Delano will become home to 100 new distribution jobs

A former Sears warehouse in Delano has been purchased by a furniture and bedding company that plans to reuse the 1.2 million-square-foot building as a distribution center employing about 100 people within the next two years.

The purchase by Utah-based Malouf is the latest large distribution center deal in the valley portion of Kern County, where warehousing companies include Amazon, Walmart and other large national retailers. Terms of the transaction announced Wednesday were not disclosed. Malouf said in a news release the building will expand its ability to offer next-day shipping in the western United States. It stated it was pleased to operate in “an area with an excellent labor pool with a strong work ethic” and that it plans to begin using the facility later this year.

Occupying nearly 166 acres, the building at 1700 Schuster Court has 185 dock doors, an extensive conveyor system and storage racks. The seller of the property was represented by Stephen Haupt with Colliers International. Malouf was represented by Eric Dienstbach with Binswanger. “The Sears facility in Delano seemed to be a perfect fit with existing racking, conveyors and equipment,” Haupt, a local senior vice president at Colliers, wrote in an email. “Malouf will be a great asset to Kern County, creating 100 new jobs, building on Kern County’s successful job created by recent additions of Amazon, Dollar General, Loreal, Ross Dress-for-less and Walmart,” he continued. “I was happy to involve Melinda Brown, with the (Kern Economic Development Corp.), to assist the Malouf with local and state contacts and incentives. The KEDC is always a great partner and resource when working with potential clients.”

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/former-sears-warehouse-in-delano-will-become-home-to-100-new-distribution-jobs/article_42763f92-bbeb-11ea-aff4-5f1fe79de5ff.html

Research shows more people migrating to Central Valley during pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — The pandemic has resulted in many people not only working from home, but they’re also looking for ways to reduce their rent payments. As a result, the Valley has seen more people moving here from outside the area. Luxury apartments at The Residences at the Row in northeast Fresno have been quickly filled as the complex builds out the new complex. Many units were leased before they even became available.

Manco Abbott specializes in property management. Chief Operating Officer Adam Goldfarb said, “We see a lot of influx this year, especially with the brand new construction properties with a lot of the new amenities, are moving there and quite often it’s from out of town.” The website Apartment List helps people find apartments but research it has been conducting revealed an interesting trend when it comes to Fresno apartments. A large number of searches for Fresno units were coming from different parts of the state, especially Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

Apartment List Research Associate Rob Warnock explained, “This year, people from outside Fresno accounted for 35% so we saw about a 6-7% point increase in that search activity from people outside of the region.” Goldfarb said luxury properties were appealing to many people coming here from outside the region. Rents at The Row ranged from $1600 to $2300 a month but the complex also featured a fitness center and a pool. Many people who were working from home were drawn to the free high-speed internet that was offered. Goldfarb noted, “They’re going to the higher-end communities moving from big metropolitan areas. They’re used to apartments with all the bells and whistles.” But as money becomes tighter, more families seemed to be looking to relocate in more affordable areas Warnock said, “A lot of people need to find a cheaper place to live as a result of the economic fallout of the pandemic.”

Apartment List added its research showed roughly the same amount of people moving here from out of town, about 35%, were also looking to move out of the Valley. Last year the number was higher – at 42%.

Central Valley students start journey to become physicians at UCSF Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — A dozen motivated Central Valley students are starting their medical school journey at UCSF Fresno, with plans to return and serve as physicians in the community they call home.
First-year medical student Vanessa Mora knew from an early age she wanted to be a doctor. “My parents were migrant farmworkers, so I got to see a lot of the inequities they faced being uninsured and low-income,” said Mora. Born and raised in Fowler, she knew her medical journey wouldn’t be complete without serving in the Central Valley. “If I run away from this and I don’t go back to make a difference. How can I expect others to do the same?” said Mora. That’s when she set her sights on the UCSF San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education or SJV Prime. “The goal is to bring students like myself, who have connections to the Valley back so we can help our community,” explained Mora.

It wasn’t easy. Mora says she applied to medical school three times before finally being accepted at her dream school. “It was a match made in heaven because UCSF was already the dream institution where I wanted to go, and the program that aligned with my values was there,” added Mora. SJV Prime trains students for a medical career right here in the valley. “There’s really an impending health crisis in the Valley,” explained Dr. Leticia Rolon, Associate Director of SJV Prime. “There’s a very low patient to M.D. ratio.” “We have a lot of doctors that are retiring, a lot of doctors who are leaving the area, and we don’t have a lot of doctors coming in,” continued Rolon.

A dozen students are part of this year’s cohorts, learning their trade mostly from a laptop due to COVID-19 restrictions. “We have things like simulations and videos, but it’s not the same,” said Rolon. “This is not how I expected to start medical school, but this is just for now, and I’ll be in school for a very long time,” said Mora. As for Mora, she hopes her medical career will take her full circle, and she may one day work for UCSF Fresno.

‘We’re all COVID-free:’ Pro-surfers back in the Valley, compete in WSL’s Rumble at the Ranch for charity

USDA to Host CFAP Producer Webinar to Discuss Newly Eligible Specialty Crops, Nursery Crops, Cut Flowers and more

Join the USDA Farm Service Agency as we discuss another round of additional commodities that are now eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).  Hear program specialists provide scenario examples for nursery crops, specialty crops and aquaculture.  We will also cover adjustments made to the program and recap program basics.  USDA’s Farm Service Agency is now accepting applications for CFAP through September 11, 2020.  The CFAP program helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/outreach-and-education/webinars/